Memories of Sheffield Star man who offended the Queen

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A FORMER journalist on The Star, Sheffield Telegraph, and Sheffield Morning Telegraph who went on to edit the News of the World has died aged 75.

Award-winning Barry Askew worked as a reporter and sub-editor on the-then Sheffield Telegraph from 1957 to 1959. He returned to the paper as industrial correspondent, assistant editor and deputy editor from 1964 to ’68. For a brief spell in 1968 he was associate editor of The Star.

He moved to the Lancashire Evening Post in Preston, and in 1981 to the News of the World, where he was editor for just eight months.

His career there was cut short after he suggested to the Queen that if Diana, Princess of Wales, felt ‘harassed’ by Press photographers perhaps she should send a servant to shop for her. The Queen gave him a withering look and told Mr Askew: “I think that’s one of the most pompous things I have ever heard.”

Mr Askew was born in 1936 in Preston but educated at Lady Manners School in Bakewell. He started his career as a trainee reporter on the Derbyshire Times. By just 21 he was editor of the Matlock Mercury, and at 32 embarked on a 13-year editorship of the Lancashire Evening Post back in his home town.

Bob Westerdale, assistant editor at The Star, worked with him at Preston. He said: “Barry was old-school. He tipped the social order upside down to root out the best stories. He was a flamboyant and charismatic leader who shaped a lot of careers - and ended a few.”

On Fleet Street his habit of West End nightclubbing led Private Eye to dub him ‘The Beast Of Bouverie Street’.

Married and divorced twice, Mr Askew had a son and a daughter. He went on to work as an ITV anchorman, radio presenter and PR consultant. He lived in Preston.